The gou, desi, or Brahman cattle have more highly developed sweat glands than European cattle, and can perspire more freely. They also produce an oily secretion from the sebaceous glands, which has a distinctive odor that repels insects.
Research studies at the University of Missouri in the USA found that Brahman and European cattle thrive equally at temperatures down to 8 degrees Fahrenheit. But European cattle suffer greatly when the air temperature goes above 70 degrees Fahrenheit, showing an increase in body temperature and a decline in appetite and milk production. Brahman cattle show little effect from temperatures up to and beyond 105 degrees Fahrenheit. This heat tolerance is considered the most important factor in environmental adaption of cattle.
The studies also found that Brahman cattle produce less internal body heat in warm weather than do cattle of European breeds. The short, thick, glossy hair reflects the sun's rays, allowing them to graze in the glaring midday sun without suffering. Their dark skin pigmentation filters the intense sun rays, which in excessive amounts will damage deeper tissue layers. The skin pigmentation also keeps the breed free of eye cancer.
The gou, desi, or Brahman cattle also grow a thick winter coat to protect them from the extremes when the weather gets colder. Thus, they can survive harsh climates in either temperature extreme.
The gou, desi, or Brahman cattle have the ability to utilize lower-quality feed, to travel longer distances for feed and water, and reproduce on a regular basis in a stressful environment.